(Editor’s note: This post about Accerion engineer Amr Nahhas is the first in a series of expat profiles focusing on highly skilled internationals and the companies that employ them.)
Dispatches is all about global mobility of talent, and Amr Nahhas is exactly who we envision when we envision our expat audience. In the autonomous robotics space, talent is at a premium, and Amr Nahhas is the highly skilled international a lot of companies across Europe are looking for.
Nahhas, a native of Syria, recently joined Accerion, a Venlo, Netherlands-based robotics positioning firm that has expat team members from Bulgaria, Canada, Brazil, Syria, Turkey, Belgium and other countries.
Amr is not merely an engineer with a master’s degree in mechatronics, robotics and automation engineering from the University of Siegen in Germany, he’s a multilingual – Arabic, English, German and Turkish – and multi-talented guy with that rare trait for an engineer … he’s good with people.
Which is why he’s Accerion’s Customer Success Engineer, a nuanced and crucial position that requires both engineering skills and people skills.
In a way, Amr has been preparing his entire life for his Accerion role. He was born into an engineering family in Syria. Both parents are engineers and his brother works in tech support.
When he finished high school, his father told him about mechatronics, this new branch of engineering with an unlimited future.
“I had look at it and I liked the idea because it’s the link between electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and also business development,” Amr said. “It’s the middle point between all those branches. So here I am at Accerion doing exactly what I was aiming for.”
Beyond his multiple engineering degrees and family history, Amr has two other qualifications that make him perfect for the Customer Success Engineer role in a global company such as Accerion.
First, he loves experiencing new cultures through colleagues and clients.
Second, he’s multilingual, and Amr sees language skills becoming more important in advancing careers in a globally connected world.
“Take my previous role as a research assistant in the mechatronics laboratory at the University of Siegen,” he says. “I needed to speak German to understand the instructions for evacuating the lab in case something happened. Speaking German also proved helpful when dealing with some colleagues who did not speak English.”
Linguistic skills are especially relevant at a multinational company such as Accerion, Amr added. “You can have a quick look at names of the team members on the company’s website, and you will see directly there are team members from many different countries.
I like that very much about Accerion. I prefer to work in such international environments but also because I personally enjoy learning about and meeting people from other cultures.”
In 2018, Amr received the DAAD Award for Intercultural Engagement for his endeavors to enhance the international study experience at the University of Siegen.
Tech skills and people skills
Working at Accerion has also helped him develop people skills that Amr admits engineers sometimes lack: “Actually, at one point of my life I wanted to join a company to learn exactly that.”
In high school, Amr noticed he could be awkward in social situations simply because he was so focused on studying.
“So I decided to enter the most socially demanding job I know … sales. I remember being afraid of failure, but I just went for it anyway. Now, I really believe it was a life-changing experience for me as it allowed me finally to translate my thoughts and ideas to people.” He furthered his skills with a second international sales position in Turkey.
Unique role, unique circumstances
As the name indicates, the Customer Success Engineer is responsible for making certain customers successfully integrate Accerion products. That includes helping customers understand the different properties and choose the best configuration; solving technical issues when integrating our technology into the customers AGV’s and AMR and relaying customer feedback to team leaders in sales and marketing or development.
“When I met (Accerion Managing Director Vincent Burg), I asked him, ‘Why did you choose this name? Because you could call it ‘field application engineer,’” Amir says. “And he said, ‘No, this is a bit involved in non-technical stuff. Whenever the customer is facing something … non-technical, you’ll be involved in cooperating with the sales team to construct a plan.’
“It’s not really 100-percent technical.”
Amr had the unique experience of starting in the middle of a pandemic as a Customer Success Engineer for a company with a global customer base. Which he believes actually helped Accerion become a more flexible company.
Accerion team members including Amr now use digital platforms to communicate more efficiently, sharing documents, info and even code.
“As for my role as a Customer Success Engineer, I’m working mainly with other colleagues to solve technical problems remotely, i.e. by sending instructions to the customers to solve issues in the field,” he says. Many of the software-based problems can be resolved remotely.
Real demanding, real fun
Despite the circumstances, the job is really fun, “and this is what I like the most about working at Accerion. I can describe it as fun and dynamic,” Amr says. “I guess I would say, ‘easy flow.’ This isn’t something I found all the time at the previous companies where I worked.”
His position as Customer Success Engineer has a lot responsibility, but also a lot of flexibility in a company environment that encourages maximum innovation with minimal bureaucracy.
Early in Amr’s career, he said he experienced internal roadblocks to improvements and new ideas until the process eventually died. If you have an idea at Accerion, you bring it up in a meeting and colleagues say “I like it” or “I don’t like it,” he said. “You directly know who’s going to be involved and you take it from there. You take on a small project and see how it goes from there. It’s really dynamic and it’s really ‘easy flow.’ ”
Putting all his skills to work at Accerion in a flexible working environment have earned Amr a major career advancement “while having absolute joy at the same time,” Amr says.
“It’s really amazing how my skills are improving at a fast pace in Accerion. This allows me to structure my working day in the most efficient way to do my work and improve my skills.
Amr recommends Accerion without hesitation to other highly skilled internationals looking for the best place to develop skills and get hands-on experience while making an immediate impact in one of the most advanced engineering sectors.
Oh, and having fun.
Accerion was founded in 2015 by Willem-Jan Lamers after an epiphany – the global economy was entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Today, Accerion makes the world’s only 100-percent infrastructure-free positioning technology for mobile robots and automated guided vehicles in logistics, manufacturing and other sectors.
If you’re interested in robotic technology, see the Accerion career page here.
See more about technology here on Dispatches.